COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS SUCK!
At least, in my opinion they do.
Let’s look at the top three teams: Oklahoma, Clemson and Alabama. Did any of those teams play a team that was ranked? Two have. Oklahoma and Clemson. Should one of them be number one? In my opinion, they should be. Why? The simplest reason is the teams that they played are true competitive teams, which they could play for a national championship. I don’t know how to say this, but in simple words: The NCAA rankings system is still broken.
Let’s also preface to say this in huge bold caps: NO BCS!
The past two weeks of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have blasted a few dents into the playing schedule of college football. There are games that have had to be rescheduled, or might even in the long run be cancelled. College sports is a huge money maker for revenue dollars that truly support the “programs” in being managed and run. National television does rake in money, and visibility, especially for college recruits.
Scheduling games has a lot to do with NCAA sports, within their respected division, and contracted games towards “rivals,” and “invites.” These in themselves are revenue driven and are often found on the television screen of CBS, ABC, NBC, ESPN, FOX and more, smaller channels/affiliates. Sitting on a recent Saturday watching Illinois get trounced by Southern Florida, made me wish for the “mercy” code as it became an unbearable game to watch. I couldn’t even imagine being an Illinois fan after the first half sitting in the stands at that game. The misery, the pain. Agony. Luckily, for those watching at home, the game was sent to a smaller affiliated channel, and a more prominent game came on.
My question is this: How can a team be ranked by a win over a smaller team?
So as I was researching this article, I went to the USAToday, which was available at the moment, and found the Jeff Sagarin College Football Rankings. It has Bama first with Oklahoma and Clemson behind them, respectively. Fourth was Ohio State and OK state being number 5. This is a link to understanding the Sagarin model (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Sagarin). Though this is link is more towards his development, I understand how he uses a weighted average.
Just pulled up the AP/Coaches poll (thank you ESPN.com) and to my surprise, the rankings look much different than the Sagarin model. Both are identical with Alabama 1, Clemson 2, Oklahoma 3, Penn State 4, and USC 5.
I don’t get it. Playing a two-bit team with little ability to win, versus a team that has what looks like a professional training camp environment (hello Oklahoma!), who served a team a comeuppance in the first game of the season and a team, who was down 3 or 4 touchdowns and came back in one of the most amazing moments in college football this year, are 2 and 5.
There is no thing as an exact science when it comes to ranking teams. I get ticked off when I hear that such and such a team is number one, when they really haven’t played a competitive team, and there seems to be not even a chance of argument by anyone as it comes to an honest discussion. I usually sit there and wonder how a team can be so special when it comes to the dollars that drive the NCAA football ranks, but somehow, and some way, some day, this will all make sense.
And thus ends my first column for The Sports Talk.